Canon M vs Leica M8
The Canon EOS M and the Leica M8 are two digital cameras that were announced, respectively, in July 2012 and September 2006. The Canon M is a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera, while the M8 is a rangefinder-style mirrorless. The cameras are based on an APS-C (Canon M) and an APS-H (M8) sensor. The Canon has a resolution of 17.9 megapixels, whereas the Leica provides 10.4 MP.
Below is an overview of the main specs of the two cameras as a starting point for the comparison.
Going beyond this snapshot of core features and characteristics, what are the differences between the Canon EOS M and the Leica M8? Which one should you buy? Read on to find out how these two cameras compare with respect to their body size, their imaging sensors, their shooting features, their input-output connections, and their reception by expert reviewers.
An illustration of the physical size and weight of the Canon M and the Leica M8 is provided in the side-by-side display below. The two cameras are presented according to their relative size. Three successive views from the front, the top, and the rear are shown. All width, height and depth measures are rounded to the nearest millimeter.
The Canon M can be obtained in two different colors (black, white), while the M8 is also available in two color-versions, but different ones (black, silver).
If the front view area (width x height) of the cameras is taken as an aggregate measure of their size, the Leica M8 is considerably larger (55 percent) than the Canon M. Moreover, the M8 is substantially heavier (98 percent) than the Canon M. In this context, it is worth noting that neither the Canon M nor the M8 are weather-sealed.
The above size and weight comparisons are to some extent incomplete since they do not consider the interchangeable lenses that both of these cameras require. Hence, you might want to study and compare the specifications of available lenses in order to get the full picture of the size and weight of the two camera systems.
The table below summarizes the key physical specs of the two cameras alongside a broader set of comparators. If you want to switch the focus of the display and review another camera pair, you can move across to the CAM-parator tool and choose from the broad selection of possible camera comparisons there.
|1.||Canon M||109 mm||66 mm||32 mm||298 g||230||n||Jul 2012||599|
|2.||Leica M8||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||591 g||..||n||Sep 2006||5,499|
|3.||Canon M100||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||302 g||295||n||Aug 2017||499|
|4.||Canon M10||108 mm||67 mm||35 mm||301 g||255||n||Oct 2015||499|
|5.||Canon G7 X||103 mm||60 mm||40 mm||304 g||210||n||Sep 2014||699|
|6.||Canon 100D||117 mm||91 mm||69 mm||407 g||380||n||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Canon 700D||133 mm||100 mm||79 mm||580 g||440||n||Mar 2013||649|
|8.||Canon G16||109 mm||76 mm||40 mm||356 g||360||n||Aug 2013||549|
|9.||Canon 400D||127 mm||84 mm||65 mm||556 g||370||n||Aug 2006||799|
|10.||Leica M10||139 mm||80 mm||39 mm||660 g||210||Y||Jan 2017||6,595|
|11.||Leica M9||139 mm||80 mm||37 mm||585 g||..||n||Sep 2009||7,999|
|12.||Nikon D80||132 mm||103 mm||77 mm||668 g||600||n||Aug 2006||999|
|13.||Panasonic GF6||111 mm||65 mm||38 mm||323 g||340||n||Apr 2013||499|
|14.||Panasonic G3||115 mm||84 mm||47 mm||336 g||270||n||May 2011||599|
|15.||Panasonic L10||135 mm||96 mm||78 mm||556 g||450||n||Aug 2007||599|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||110 mm||62 mm||35 mm||269 g||480||n||Feb 2013||499|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||117 mm||67 mm||42 mm||314 g||470||n||May 2012||599|
|Notes: Measurements and pricing do not include easily detachable parts, such as add-on or interchangeable lenses or optional viewfinders.|
Any camera decision will naturally be influenced heavily by the price. The retail prices at the time of the camera’s release place the model in the market relative to other models in the producer’s line-up and the competition. The Canon M was launched at a markedly lower price (by 89 percent) than the M8, which puts it into a different market segment. Usually, retail prices stay at first close to the launch price, but after several months, discounts become available. Later in the product cycle and, in particular, when the replacement model is about to appear, further discounting and stock clearance sales often push the camera price considerably down. Then, after the new model is out, very good deals can frequently be found on the pre-owned market.
The size of the imaging sensor is a crucial determinant of image quality. A large sensor will tend to have larger individual pixels that provide better low-light sensitivity, wider dynamic range, and richer color-depth than smaller pixel-units in a sensor of the same technological generation. Furthermore, a large sensor camera will give the photographer more possibilities to use shallow depth-of-field in order to isolate a subject from the background. On the downside, larger sensors are more costly to manufacture and tend to lead to bigger and heavier cameras and lenses.
Of the two cameras under consideration, the Canon M features an APS-C sensor and the Leica M8 an APS-H sensor. The sensor area in the M8 is 46 percent bigger. As a result of these sensor size differences, the cameras have a format factor of, respectively, 1.6 and 1.3. Both cameras have a native aspect ratio (sensor width to sensor height) of 3:2.
Despite having a smaller sensor, the Canon M offers a higher resolution of 17.9 megapixels, compared with 10.4 MP of the Leica M8. This megapixels advantage comes at the cost of a higher pixel density and a smaller size of the individual pixel (with a pixel pitch of 4.31μm versus 6.84μm for the M8). However, it should be noted that the Canon M is much more recent (by 5 years and 10 months) than the M8, and its sensor will have benefitted from technological advances during this time that make it possible to gather light more efficiently. Coming back to sensor resolution, it should be mentioned that the M8 has no anti-alias filter installed, so that it can capture all the detail its sensor resolves.
The resolution advantage of the Canon M implies greater flexibility for cropping images or the possibility to print larger pictures. The maximum print size of the Canon M for good quality output (200 dots per inch) amounts to 25.9 x 17.3 inches or 65.8 x 43.9 cm, for very good quality (250 dpi) 20.7 x 13.8 inches or 52.7 x 35.1 cm, and for excellent quality (300 dpi) 17.3 x 11.5 inches or 43.9 x 29.3 cm. The corresponding values for the Leica M8 are 19.7 x 13.2 inches or 50 x 33.4 cm for good quality, 15.7 x 10.5 inches or 40 x 26.7 cm for very good quality, and 13.1 x 8.8 inches or 33.3 x 22.3 cm for excellent quality prints.
The Canon M has on-sensor phase detect pixels, which results in fast and reliable autofocus acquisition even during live view operation.
The Canon EOS M has a native sensitivity range from ISO 100 to ISO 12800, which can be extended to ISO 100-25600. The corresponding ISO settings for the Leica M8 are ISO 160 to ISO 2500 (no boost).
Since 2007, DXO Mark has published sensor performance measurements that have been derived using a consistent methodology. This service determines an overall sensor rating, as well as sub-scores for low-light sensitivity ("DXO Sports"), dynamic range ("DXO Landscape"), and color depth ("DXO Portrait"). Of the two cameras under review, the Canon M has a notably higher overall DXO score than the M8 (overall score 6 points higher), which gives it an advantage in terms of imaging quality. This advantage is based on 1 bits higher color depth, 0.1 EV of lower dynamic range, and 0.3 stops in additional low light sensitivity. The table below summarizes the physical sensor characteristics and sensor quality findings and compares them across a set of similar cameras.
| DXO |
|5.||Canon G7 X||1-inch||20.0||5472||3648||1080/60p||23.0||12.7||556||71|
|10.||Leica M10||Full Frame||23.8||5952||3992||none||24.4||13.2||2133||86|
|11.||Leica M9||Full Frame||18.1||5212||3472||none||22.5||11.7||884||69|
|13.||Panasonic GF6||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||20.7||10.6||622||54|
|14.||Panasonic G3||Four Thirds||15.8||4592||3448||1080/60i||21.0||10.6||667||56|
|15.||Panasonic L10||Four Thirds||10.0||3648||2736||none||21.3||10.8||429||55|
Many modern cameras are not only capable of taking still images, but also of capturing video footage. The Canon M indeed provides movie recording capabilities, while the M8 does not. The highest resolution format that the Canon M can use is 1080/30p.
Apart from body and sensor, cameras can and do differ across a range of features. For example, the M8 has an optical viewfinder, which can be very useful when shooting in bright sunlight. In contrast, the Canon M relies on live view and the rear LCD for framing. The following table reports on some other key feature differences and similarities of the Canon M, the Leica M8, and comparable cameras.
|5.||Canon G7 X||none||n||3.0||1040||tilting||Y||1/2000s||6.5||Y||Y|
One differentiating feature between the two cameras concerns the touch sensitivity of the rear screen. The Canon M has a touchscreen, while the M8 has a conventional panel. Touch control can be particularly helpful, for example, for setting the focus point.
Concerning the storage of imaging data, both the Canon M and the M8 write their files to SDXC cards. The Canon M supports UHS-I cards (Ultra High Speed data transfer of up to 104 MB/s), while the M8 cannot take advantage of Ultra High Speed SD cards.
For some imaging applications, the extent to which a camera can communicate with its environment can be an important aspect in the camera decision process. The table below provides an overview of the connectivity of the Canon EOS M and Leica M8 and, in particular, the interfaces the cameras (and selected comparators) provide for accessory control and data transfer.
| WiFi |
| NFC |
|5.||Canon G7 X||-||stereo||mono||-||-||micro||2.0||Y||Y||-|
Both the Canon M and the M8 have been discontinued, but can regularly be found used on eBay. The M8 was replaced by the Leica M9, while the Canon M was followed by the Canon EOS M3. Further information on the two cameras (e.g. user guides, manuals), as well as related accessories, can be found on the official Canon and Leica websites.
So how do things add up? Which of the two cameras – the Canon M or the Leica M8 – has the upper hand? Is one clearly better than the other? Below is a summary of the relative strengths of each of the two contestants.
Arguments in favor of the Canon EOS M:
- More detail: Offers more megapixels (17.9 vs 10.4MP) with a 32% higher linear resolution.
- Better moiré control: Has an anti-alias filter to avoid artificial patterns to appear in images.
- Better image quality: Scores markedly higher (6 points) in the DXO overall assessment.
- Broader imaging potential: Can record not only still images but also 1080/30p movies.
- Better live-view autofocus: Features on-sensor phase-detection for more confident autofocus.
- Larger screen: Has a bigger rear LCD (3.0" vs 2.5") for image review and settings control.
- More detailed LCD: Has a higher resolution rear screen (1040k vs 230k dots).
- Fewer buttons to press: Is equipped with a touch-sensitive rear screen to facilitate handling.
- Faster burst: Shoots at higher frequency (4.3 vs 2 flaps/sec) to capture the decisive moment.
- More compact: Is smaller (109x66mm vs 139x80mm) and thus needs less room in the bag.
- Less heavy: Is lighter (by 293g or 50 percent) and hence easier to carry around.
- Faster buffer clearing: Has an SD card interface that supports the UHS-I standard.
- More affordable: Was introduced into a lower priced category (89 percent cheaper at launch).
- More modern: Reflects 5 years and 10 months of technical progress since the M8 launch.
Reasons to prefer the Leica M8:
- Maximized detail: Lacks an anti-alias filter to exploit the sensor's full resolution potential.
- Easier framing: Has an optical viewfinder for image composition and settings control.
- Faster shutter: Has higher mechanical shutter speed (1/8000s vs 1/4000s) to freeze action.
- More prestigious: Has the Leica luxury appeal, which ensures a high resale value.
- More heavily discounted: Has been around for much longer (launched in September 2006).
If the count of relative strengths (bullet points above) is taken as a measure, the Canon M is the clear winner of the match-up (14 : 5 points). However, the pertinence of the various camera strengths will differ across photographers, so that you might want to weigh individual camera traits according to their importance for your own imaging needs before making a camera decision. A professional wedding photographer will view the differences between cameras in a way that diverges from the perspective of a travel photog, and a person interested in cityscapes has distinct needs from a macro shooter. Hence, the decision which camera is best and worth buying is often a very personal one.
In any case, while the comparison of the spec-sheets of cameras can offer a general idea of their imaging potential, it remains incomplete and does no justice, for example, to the way the Canon M or the M8 perform in practice. User reviews, such as those found at amazon, can sometimes inform about these issues, but such feedback is often incomplete, inconsistent, and biased.
This is why expert reviews are important. The following table reports the overall ratings of the cameras as published by some of the major camera review sites (amateurphotographer [AP], cameralabs [CL], dpreview [DPR], ephotozine [EPZ], photographyblog [PB]). As can be seen, the professional reviewers agree in many cases on the quality of different cameras, but sometimes their assessments diverge, reinforcing the earlier point that a camera decision is often a very personal choice.
|1.||Canon M||3/5||+||..||4/5||4/5||Jul 2012||599|
|2.||Leica M8||..||..||+ +||..||..||Sep 2006||5,499|
|3.||Canon M100||3/5||+||..||4/5||3.5/5||Aug 2017||499|
|4.||Canon M10||..||..||..||..||4/5||Oct 2015||499|
|5.||Canon G7 X||4/5||+ +||77/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Sep 2014||699|
|6.||Canon 100D||4/5||+||78/100||4/5||4/5||Mar 2013||549|
|7.||Canon 700D||..||..||76/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||Mar 2013||649|
|8.||Canon G16||4/5||+||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Aug 2013||549|
|9.||Canon 400D||..||+ +||+ +||o||4/5||Aug 2006||799|
|10.||Leica M10||4.5/5||..||..||4/5||4.5/5||Jan 2017||6,595|
|11.||Leica M9||..||..||..||4.5/5||..||Sep 2009||7,999|
|12.||Nikon D80||..||+||+ +||o||4.5/5||Aug 2006||999|
|13.||Panasonic GF6||..||+ +||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Apr 2013||499|
|14.||Panasonic G3||3/5||+ +||75/100||4.5/5||5/5||May 2011||599|
|15.||Panasonic L10||..||85/100||+||3.5/5||4/5||Aug 2007||599|
|16.||Sony NEX-3N||3/5||..||..||4.5/5||4.5/5||Feb 2013||499|
|17.||Sony NEX-F3||4/5||..||74/100||4.5/5||4.5/5||May 2012||599|
|Notes: (+ +) highly recommended; (+) recommended; (o) reviewed; (..) not available.|
The above review scores should be interpreted with care, though. The assessments were made in relation to similar cameras of the same technological generation. A score, therefore, has to be seen in close connection to the price and market introduction time of the camera, and rating-comparisons among cameras that span long time periods or concern very differently equipped models make little sense. It should also be noted that some of the review sites have over time altered the way they render their verdicts.
Other camera comparisons
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Specifications: Canon M vs Leica M8
Below is a side-by-side comparison of the specs of the two cameras to facilitate a quick review of their differences and common features.
|Camera Model||Canon M||Leica M8|
|Camera Type||Mirrorless system camera||Rangefinder camera|
|Camera Lens||Canon EF-M mount lenses||Leica M mount lenses|
|Launch Date||July 2012||September 2006|
|Launch Price||USD 599||USD 5,499|
|Sensor Specs||Canon M||Leica M8|
|Sensor Format||APS-C Sensor||APS-H Sensor|
|Sensor Size||22.3 x 14.9 mm||27.0 x 18.0 mm|
|Sensor Area||332.27 mm2||486 mm2|
|Sensor Diagonal||26.8 mm||32.4 mm|
|Sensor Resolution||17.9 Megapixels||10.4 Megapixels|
|Image Resolution||5184 x 3456 pixels||3936 x 2630 pixels|
|Pixel Pitch||4.31 μm||6.84 μm|
|Pixel Density||5.39 MP/cm2||2.13 MP/cm2|
|Moiré control||Anti-Alias filter||no AA filter|
|Movie Capability||1080/30p Video||no Video|
|ISO Setting||100 - 12,800 ISO||160 - 2,500 ISO|
|ISO Boost||100 - 25,600 ISO||no Enhancement|
|DXO Sensor Quality (score)||65||59|
|DXO Color Depth (bits)||22.1||21.1|
|DXO Dynamic Range (EV)||11.2||11.3|
|DXO Low Light (ISO)||827||663|
|Screen Specs||Canon M||Leica M8|
|Viewfinder Type||no viewfinder||Optical viewfinder|
|Viewfinder Field of View||100%|
|LCD Framing||Live View|
|Rear LCD Size||3.0inch||2.5inch|
|LCD Resolution||1040k dots||230k dots|
|LCD Attachment||Fixed screen||Fixed screen|
|Touch Input||Touchscreen||no Touchscreen|
|Shooting Specs||Canon M||Leica M8|
|Focus System||On-Sensor Phase-detect||Manual Focus|
|Continuous Shooting||4.3 shutter flaps/s||2 shutter flaps/s|
|Fill Flash||no On-Board Flash||no On-Board Flash|
|Storage Medium||SDXC cards||SDXC cards|
|Second Storage Option||Single card slot||Single card slot|
|UHS card support||UHS-I||no|
|Connectivity Specs||Canon M||Leica M8|
|USB Connector||USB 2.0||USB 2.0|
|HDMI Port||mini HDMI||no HDMI|
|Microphone Port||External MIC port||no MIC socket|
|Wifi Support||no Wifi||no Wifi|
|Body Specs||Canon M||Leica M8|
109 x 66 x 32 mm
(4.3 x 2.6 x 1.3 in)
139 x 80 x 37 mm
(5.5 x 3.1 x 1.5 in)
|Camera Weight||298 g (10.5 oz)||591 g (20.8 oz)|
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